Young champs pay hefty price



By ANDREW RYAN

SURELY this latest recurrence of Benji Marshall's shoulder injury places his longer term playing future in serious jeopardy?

He is rightly touted as a future superstar and his potential is clear for all to see.

However this is about the sixth time he has been out of the game due to this shoulder and I'll bet it won't be the last.

Sadly, Marshall is not alone.

Sonny Bill Williams is another heir apparent, but thanks to injury he rarely plays.

He also has enormous potential, but it counts for nothing when he's so frequently on crutches.

Are these young men not yet adequately developed for such physical combat against more hardened men?

It's not just Marshall and Williams.

Scott Prince was plagued by a couple of broken ankles only a couple of years ago whereas Brent Tate has constant neck and shoulder problems.

Prince was a young first grader and Tate was a teenage Test player.

Other young guns who had injury plagued careers were Canberra's Laurie Daley and Bradley Clyde.

Two remarkable players who would have achieved so much more if not for injuries.

Daley was playing first grade at 17 and Clyde was playing for Australia at 19, yet both had dreadful knee problems that frequently sidelined them for prolonged periods.

Richard Hadley of the Brisbane Lions missed season 2005 through injury and will also miss this year through injury.

Former Wallaby Red Ben Tune was a Test player at 19 or 20, he has since had more knee operations than cooked breakfasts.

Reds captain Elton Flatley was recently forced into retirement at 28 due to recurring concussions.

Flatley had been a Red since he was 18.



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